Why You Need to Talk to Your Customers

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    You may be thinking, “Of course we have to talk to our customers.” Bear with me. You talk with your customers every day about their orders, their needs and so on. But have you ever taken one step back and asked them really, truly, why they do business with you? This kind of customer research, however valuable, tends to fall to the back burner if it is done at all.

    (A separate, but related question: How do they want to do business with you? Our friends over at Distribution Strategy Group are a great resource for helping you answer that question.)

    If you aren’t talking with your customers about your value proposition, what are your marketing messages based on? If they’re based on what you think is important to your customers, you may want to reconsider that approach.

    There was a lot of talk about value proposition at the recent Sales GPS executive workshop for distributors in Austin. Many companies are convinced they have the best service, people and product, and their marketing messages reflect that. The problem is that their competitors believe the same thing.

    Just because you say that your service is the best doesn’t mean that’s actually the case. In fact, in today’s world – depending on the industry – the service standard you’re hitting may be the minimum you have to hit to continue to do business.

    If customer research is done right, you will uncover what matters most to your target audience. That usually means you need to rewrite or edit your existing website copy. You may want to highlight a feature or benefit that maybe was previously downplayed on your website. You could build a case study around that. Highlight some testimonials that support it. Bring what matters most to your customers to the forefront.

    And if, in the end, the answer really is “service,” go deeper with your messaging. What’s “service” mean? EVERYONE claims service is their specialty. So if your customers really do business with you because you hands-down have the best customer service team in town, find a way to showcase that that lends credibility to that claim. For example, use extended testimonials, with concrete examples of actual service that went above and beyond.

    The bottom line: It’s about maximizing the effectiveness of your marketing.

    What you say (or publish) matters, and as one consultant we work with likes to say: It’s not about you. It’s about the customer. And unless you ask, your marketing message may not actually resonate with who you’re trying to reach.

    Why You Need to Talk to Your Customers